Dirty Old Boston

The Day The Earth Stood Unstill

TConstruction 1895BostonianSociety.jpg
The Construction of Today's MBTA Begins, 1895
Photo courtesy of The Bostonian Society

Boston boasts the first subway system in the U.S. Although tiny next to New York's, we were first and this photo allows the imagination to picture the intense amount of labor it must have taken to get the thing built. Here we see its construction in motion at what is now Park Street Station, with no technology available to assist in the heavy lifting.

Yet on September 1, 1897, at 6 am, "over 100 people crowded onto the first train to travel through a tunnel under downtown Boston", according to Mass Moments. "More than 100,000 people would take the three-and-a-half minute trip that day. They were riding on the first subway line in the United States. After considering various alternatives to ease congestion on Boston's streets, city officials decided to follow the example of London, Glasgow, and Budapest and build an underground system. Within a year, passengers could get on and off the subway at Boylston Street, Park Street, Scollay Square, Adams Square, and Haymarket. In time, the route would be connected to the Boston Elevated Railway, creating the public transportation system that was the precursor to today's T."

While you are enjoying the pleasures of a slow jaunt out to Boston College from North Station on a single 8PM car, or standing in the windy cold of the Stony Brook tunnel waiting for the Orange Line, take a moment and think glowingly of those greater than yourselves, those who came before you and made your ride possible. And remember, this too shall pass!

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